Donald Trump likes to hold rallies on Saturday nights. Trump, stuck in a 1970s mindset, seems to think that getting on camera on Saturday night is still guaranteed prime time viewing, instead of the reruns of Wheel of Fortune usually in the spot.
Still, as they did last night, his faithful turn out in the thousands to hear the orange oracle hold forth on his favorite topic: himself.
Even by Trump standards, his two rallies in Texas — one in Houston and one in Conroe — were doozies. Trump is still promoting the Big Lie that he won the 2020 presidential election. But when it comes to race and violence, he’s discarded any dog whistles for a bullhorn.
Trump unironically told his followers to stage another assault on the rule of law in the name of protecting it. In particular, he wants them to save him from being indicted.
“If these radical, vicious, racist prosecutors do anything wrong or illegal, I hope we are going to have in this country the biggest protest we have ever had in Washington DC, in New York, in Atlanta and elsewhere because our country and our elections are corrupt,” he told the audience at the Conroe rally.
Trump is under investigation in multiple jurisdictions for a variety of misdeeds. New York State Attorney General Letitia James (D) is looking into whether Trump committed fraud by willfully misstating the value of his properties to game the tax system. The newly sworn-in Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg, inherited a case regarding whether or not Trump submitted false financial statements when seeking financing. In Georgia, the Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis (D) has requested a special grand jury to look into election interference by Trump, something that he was pretty much caught on tape doing.
What makes all these prosecutors ‘racist’ in Trump’s eyes? They are Black.
It doesn’t matter that Bragg inherited his case from his white predecessor. Trump is playing on the crowd’s white resentment to rile them up.
Indeed, in one of those rhetorical sleight-of-hands that Trump is so good at, he pulled the crowd into his own legal woes, as if they were all serial lawbreakers.
“In reality, they’re not after me, they’re after you, and I just happen to be the person in the way,” Trump said.
While Trump’s grip on the MAGA fringe may not be quite as strong as it once was, he’s still the single most powerful figure in the Republican party. The 2024 presidential nomination is presumed his if he wants it. At the rally, he teased the crowd with what he would do if he were president again: pardon the Capitol Hill insurrectionists.
“If I run and if I win, we will treat those people from January 6 fairly,” Trump said in Conroe. “We will treat them fairly,” Trump said.
“And if it requires pardons, we will give them pardons. Because they are being treated so unfairly.”
Of course, that would mean returning to the Oval Office. Or as Trump put it at the Conroe rally, “that beautiful, beautiful house that happens to be white.”
That wasn’t a dog whistle either.